Paisley and renfrewshire Events

Paisley Museum

Sympathetic restoration puts Victorian gallery back in proportion

The Pillar Gallery, part of Paisley’s Museum and Art Gallery, is being returned to its original Victorian splendour 40 years after it was ravaged by a 1970s make-over.

The original double arched ceiling was lost to view when a lowered ceiling was installed. The 1970s ceiling halved the height of the gallery, significantly affecting the look and feel of the display space.

The ongoing nine month restoration has seen the removal of the suspended ceiling and associated lighting. During the work air handling units were also removed along with plinths, display structures and redundant ICT cabling.

The double arched ceiling and walls have been redecorated, the pillars have been re-plastered and the floor has been resurfaced.

Councillor Iain McMillan, Convener of Renfrewshire Council’s Community and Family Care Policy Board, said, “The Victorians had an eye for space and believed in architecture which inspired and impressed. The 1970s saw a rebellion against what was seen as the over ornamentation of the 1870s.

“What we have done is to return the Pillar Gallery to its correct proportions while carrying out a sympathetic upgrade. Our aim has been to make the display space fit for the 21st century without taking anything away from its character.”

The upgrade has involved fitting new energy efficient lighting and installing two banks of seats with projection and screen capabilities, new information graphics and new display cases.

The new/old look Pillar Gallery will be officially opened on 7 November. Exhibition themes are expected to include: natural history, the Victorians, World War I and II, archaeology and the Egyptians.

The Paisley Museum opened in 1871. The building was designed by the well-known Glasgow architect John Honeyman and was paid for by Sir Peter Coats of the famous Coats thread manufacturing family.

scottish mental health arts and film festival renfrewshire

Scottish Mental Health Arts and Film Festival

The 1st of October saw the start of the 6th annual Scottish Mental Health Arts and Film Festival, and as usual Renfrewshire is hosting a huge variety of events for all interests and ages. The Festival is one of the largest arts and social justice festivals and the theme this year is Walk in My Shoes, promoting the empathy and understanding that comes with really thinking about our own and others’ mental health and wellbeing.

There are events taking place between now and October 24th in various venues across Renfrewshire, so over the next 3 weeks, each Monday you will get an e-mail highlighting the coming week’s events. There are brochures in various locations including Council offices, libraries, leisure centres and the Charleston Centre, and a pdf version of the brochure is attached. There is also lots more information on
Tue 2nd Oct, 6.30pm – ‘Walking in my Shoes – from Prada to Primark’ – multi media event about the impact of materialism on our culture delivered by Dr Carol Craig from the Centre for Confidence and Wellbeing, Reid Kerr College (£5)

  • Wed 3rd Oct, 12.30pm – Poetry at the Museum – Read Raw Ltd share poems and readings during lunchtime, Paisley Museum (free)
  • Wed 3rd Oct, 2pm – My Name is Joe – Film starring Peter Mullan followed by panel discussion exploring issues in the film, Paisley Arts Centre (free)
  • Wed 3rd Oct, 7pm – Walk the Line – Film about the late great Johnny Cash, followed by live music in the style of the man himself! Paisley Arts Centre (free)
  • Wed 3rd Oct, 7.30pm – Positive Renfrewshire Pubs – Live music and mental health info in the Bungalow Bar, Paisley (free)
  • Thus 4th Oct, 10am – My Story, My Rhythm, My Shoes – expressive arts workshop for adults, Life Church, Paisley (free)
  • Fri 5th Oct, 1pm – ‘On Edge’ – film about how young people cope with the pressure of their lives, Abercorn Centre, Reid Kerr College (free)
  • Fri 5th Oct, 2pm – ‘Mind Games’ – interactive drama focussing on depression, Abercorn Cemtre, Reid Kerr College (free)
  • Fri 5th Oct, 7.30pm – Loud’n’Proud 10th Year Anniversary Showcase – music extravaganza featuring singers and musicians of all ages, including a rock orchestra and rock choir, Paisley Town Hall ((£12.50, £9.50)

Ongoing events

Poetry Windows – Discover poems displayed in shop windows and pick up a copy of the Walki in My Shoes contemporary poetry collection, throughout Paisley

‘Walk in My Shoes’ – Art Exhibition, Paisley Arts Centre and Sunshine Art Gallery in the Paisley Centre

The Road to Wellbeing – Interactive public art project, Sunshine Art Gallery, Paisley Centre
Photography Exhibition – created by members of the DRC Photography Group, Disability Resource Centre, Paisley


Historical Adventures Youth Theatre

Johnstone Class

Hello there and welcome to another update from the Historical Adventures Youth Theatre.  During the past couple of weeks the children and teenagers of Johnstone have been very hard at work with our upcoming winter panto ‘Cinderella’.  Poor Cinders is being forced to work away all day and night while her horrible stepmother and stepsisters are always out enjoying themselves (I’m pretty sure the parents of Johnstone can empathize with Cinderella).  After a session or two, we have the cast members in place which everyone is happy with and we are steadily on our way to show our performance come sometime soon in early December (details will be available soon, please check our Facebook and our blog for updates).

historical-adventuresWe also had a new influx of new members to our Monday nights and as always with any Drama group, the more the merrier!   This has brought our Johnstone register to just over twenty members! Meaning more performers which in turn means bigger things for the group which all adds up too lots more fun for all involved!

For more details or inquiries, please contact David O’Rorke by email at:

Or alternatively, contact by phone at the following number: 07812437559

The Historical Adventures Johnstone Youth Theatre takes place on a Monday night, in St Aidan’s Church Hall, starting at 6:00pm and finishing at 7.30pm.  The first night for new members is free and each following class after that is £3.50 per person.

Foxbar Class

Hello and welcome to another update from Thursday nights here at Historical Adventures Youth Theatre.  While planning to do our upcoming pantomime ‘Cinderella’ (dates to be announced please check our Facebook and continue following our blog for upcoming details) and the standard is really high with all the rehearsals we’ve been having, it really shows.  The children have all been very hard at work and for a newly founded group they are learning the arts of stage craft very quickly.  Parents of Foxbar probably have a hard enough time trying to keep their young actors sitting still for five minutes, well our job is to teach them how to stand still on stage for an entire performance (you can imagine how well this activity went during our first time trying it).  Although, they are getting there and we have no doubt they will be more than capable when it comes to show time.  The progress is there in leaps and bounds with every single scene we rehearse every week.

In saying that, just because we are working on our panto, does not mean we are full up.  In drama, the motto will always be ‘the more, the merrier’ and that rings more than true for us here at Historical Adventures.  Our Foxbar class takes place in the Foxbar Community Centre and begins at 5.30pm, finishing at 7.00pm.  The first night for new members is free and each following class after your free trial is £3.50 per person.

For more details or inquiries, please contact David O’Rorke by email at:

Or alternatively, contact by phone at the following number: 07812437559 or go to our Facebook at   

Phil Cunningham and Aly Bain

Paisley Abbey Concert Phil Cunningham and Aly Bain

Phil Cunningham and Aly Bain entertained a full house in Paisley Abbey last night with their usual brand of humour and excellent music. Having only just returned from a flying visit to Canada they were in good form despite admitting to some jetlag!

They gave a virtuoso performance of a variety of music old and new, one tune written by Aly as a Christening gift for a baby in Shetland and another by Phil for a friend’s birthday. The music were interspersed with stories about their exploits during 25 years of travelling and playing together, including the occasion when Phil’s fingers were trapped in a car door on last year’s tour, resulting in a broken pinkie!

Make sure you don’t miss a great night of entertainment when they make their return visit next year.

Find out more about Phil and Aly by visiting their website here.

Paisley Abbey

Paisley Abbey was founded in 1163 as a Cluniac Monastery, Paisley Abbey retains its medieval nave with transepts and choir restored in 19th and 20th Centuries. It has Royal Tombs, fine woodcarving and beautiful 19th and 20th century Stained Glass Windows. Visitors can also view the sacristy exhibition and visit the abbey gift and coffee shop.

Paisley Abbey History: It is believed that Saint Mirin (or Saint Mirren) founded a community on this site in 7th century. Some time after his death a shrine to the Saint was established becoming a popular site of pilgrimage and veneration. The name Paisley may derive from the Brythonic Passeleg, ‘basilica’ (derived from the Greek), i.e. ‘major church’, recalling an early, though undocumented, ecclesiastical importance.

In 1163 Walter FitzAlan, the first High Steward of Scotland, issued a charter for a priory to be set up on land owned by him in Paisley, dedicated to Saints Mary, James, Mirin and Milburga.

Around 13 monks came from the Cluniac priory at Much Wenlock in Shropshire to found the community. Paisley grew so rapidly that it was raised to the status of Abbey in 1219. In 1307, Edward I of England had the Abbey burned down, however it was rebuilt later in the 14th century. William Wallace, born in nearby Elderslie is widely believed to have been educated in the Abbey for some time as a boy.
In 1316 Marjorie Bruce, daughter of Robert I of Scotland and wife of Walter Stewart, the sixth High Steward of Scotland, was out riding near the Abbey. Heavily pregnant at the time, she fell from her horse and was taken to Paisley Abbey where she gave birth to King Robert II. However, Marjorie Bruce died and is buried at the Abbey. In the Abbey itself there are signs which indicate that Marjorie’s baby was cut out of her womb, a caesarean delivery long before anaesthesia was available.

A cairn, at the junction of Dundonald Road and Renfrew Road, approximately one mile to the north of the Abbey, marks the spot where she reputedly fell from her horse.
A succession of fires and the collapse of the tower in the 15th and 16th centuries left the building in a partially ruined state. Although the western section was still used for worship, the eastern section was widely plundered for its stone. Between 1858 and 1928 the north porch and the eastern choir were reconstructed on the remains of the ruined walls by the architect Macgregor Chalmers. After his death, work on the choir was completed by Sir Robert Lorimer.

Monks from Paisley founded Crossraguel Abbey in Carrick, Ayrshire, in 1244.

Media: You can find photographs and video on the Paisley Photographs website


Historical Adventures Youth Theatre

Over the October holidays, Historical Adventures Youth Theatre will be helping children to write, rehearse and perform 2 spooky, original and exciting plays.
At the end of the Day you will have the chance to watch the amazing show that the children have put together.
The workshops will run from 10.00 a.m. until 4.00p.m. and will cost £12.
Suitable for ages 7-14 years
To book a place on Spooky October Theatre 2012 please e-mail us at or phone/text us on 07812437559. Please book early to avoid disappointment. All staff are enhanced disclosure checked (P.V.G. checked also). Please remember to bring a packed lunch and a snack!

TUESDAY 16TH OF OCTOBER 10.00A.M -4.00P.M. £12
A winter get away goes awry as a camping resort turns out to be a place for Vampires who want to turn vegetarian, but not all are as keen as others… In addition, the rival camp next door, “Camp Zombie” they are up to their own ghoulish tricks and pranks. How will our heroes cope with being stuck between fangs and zombies?

THURSDAY 18TH OF OCTOBER 10.00A.M -4.00P.M. £12
Ghouls, Goblins, Vampires, Werewolves, Witches and Warlocks are all simply terrified of the scariest thing of all… children!
How will they deal with Halloween night when their most dreadful nightmares all come true? Will they be able to work together to deal with their common fear? Or will they be helpless against sugar-crazed school children in costumes? Only time will tell…

paisley from drone

Renfrewshire Chamber of Commerce ROCCO 2012 Shortlist

The 9th ROCCOs – the annual business awards of Renfrewshire Chamber – are the largest business event in Renfrewshire and one of the top corporate events in Scotland. Held this year on Friday 16th November at The Cosmopolitan Normandy Hotel, the ROCCOs are a great way to celebrate and gain recognition for your business success.

2012 seen Renfrewshire Chamber receive its highest ever number of entries. Commenting on the shortlist Chief Exec’ Bob Davidson said “thank you to all that entered and congratulations to all the shortlisted companies. The sheer number and quality of entries shows that Renfrewshire is a thriving business community with great companies old & new – all with outstanding potential. We are looking forward to the ROCCO Awards, as the Chamber to will be celebrating following another year of growth and commercial success. Plus having recently been awarded Investors in People Silver, successfully passed our 3 year export documentation audit and finally finding out this week that we have been shortlisted for the 2nd year running in the prestigious British Chambers of Commerce “Chamber of the Year 2012”. Thank you to all our members for their continued support”.

The shortlist for each category is:

ROCCO Award for Employer of the Year – sponsored by Rolls Royce
– Phoenix Car Company
– Spectrum Service Solutions
– The Malcolm Group

ROCCO Award for Invest in Renfrewshire- sponsored by Renfrewshire Council
– Cosmopolitan Hotels Group
– Fission Creative
– Scottish Leather Group

ROCCO Award for Third Sector Recognition- sponsored by Engage Renfrewshire & The Royal Bank of Scotland
– Accord Hospice
– Renfrewshire Association for Mental Health
– The Star Project

ROCCO Award for Most Promising New Business – sponsored by Renfrewshire Council
– Fresh Cleaning
– Meso

ROCCO Award for Excellence in Manufacturing – sponsored by the Scottish Leather Group
– Caledonian Industries
– Life Technologies
– Rolls-Royce plc

ROCCO Award for International Trade – sponsored by Glasgow Airport
– Caledonian Industries
– Chivas Brothers
– Scottish Leather Group

ROCCO Award for Family Business of the Year – sponsored by The Malcolm Group
– Gillies Gas Services
– Phoenix Car Company
– Spectrum Service Solutions

ROCCO Award for Young Business Person of the Year – sponsored by Reid Kerr College
– Anna Devitt – Direct Devitt
– Mark McShane – Training Developments Scotland
– Nick Cohen – PCR Business

ROCCO Award for Excellence in Customer Service – sponsored by Braehead
– Enchanted Forest Nurseries
– Glasgow Airport
– NS Design

ROCCO Award for Journey to Zero Waste – sponsored by The William Tracey Group
– Consult Lift Services
– Scottish Leather Group
– Spectrum Service Solutions

ROCCO Award for Innovation & Technology – sponsored by Hillington Park Innovation Centre
– Caledonian Industries
– IRW Systems Ltd
– Meso

ROCCO Award for Outstanding Performing Business >25 employees – sponsored by Phoenix Car
– Holiday Inn Glasgow Airport
– Scottish Leather Group
– The Malcolm Group

ROCCO Award for Outstanding Performing Business <25 employees – sponsorship tbc
– ChemTech
– Fresh Cleaning
– Sarkar Defence Solutions Ltd

ROCCO Award for Business Leader of the Year – sponsored by Diageo – nominees and winner announced on the night

Fred MacAulay returns as ROCCO host and the Chamber encourages companies to book a table / seats as early as possible as the event will sell out. For more info please visit

Tony Lawler

Everyone at would like to say a hearty ‘Congratulations’ to Tony Lawler who today discovered that he has been granted the honour of Freeman of Renfrewshire.

The Freedom of Renfrewshire has only been granted twice to our knowledge in the last few years, the most recent being The Argyle and Southern Highlanders also renowned

Sculptor Sandy Stoddart and prior to that it had not been awarded for 50 years.

Renfrewshire Council made Tony a Freeman of Renfrewshire in recognition of him carrying the Charleston Drum and leading the parade on Sma’ Shot Day for 20 years.

Those who know Tony will acknowledge that he is mightily proud of being given this position and he continually promotes the town of Paisley to the wider public.

(Pictured right is Tony Lawler, The Charleston Drummer with Renfrewshire Provost Anne Hall)

For more on Sma Shot Day 2012 click here

0018 Old Bridge St.

Paisley Events Paisley’s River Exhibition

Legacy of the White Cart Water to be brought to life in new exhibition

Paisley’s River, an exhibition which examines the role the White Cart Water has played in the town’s development over the centuries will be displayed at Paisley Museum from 19 September 2012 – 20 January 2013.


‘Paisley’s River: The White Cart Water’ will take visitors on a journey downstream as we follow it from its source on Eaglesham Moor, through Glasgow and its suburbs until it crosses into Paisley at Hawkhead. Visitors will see exactly how the White Cart has shaped the town: from how industry once used the river as a source of power and trade to the wildlife that calls the White Cart Water home. Paisley’s shipbuilding industry, which once rivalled that of the Clyde yards, will also feature, as does the influence of the Cart on artists, highlighted by a number of paintings from the Paisley museum collection.


On display, the museum will showcase models of some of the ships that Cart-based companies such as Fleming & Ferguson would have built, as well as natural history specimens, commemorative items from river-related improvement programmes and a hugely detailed map of the town which features the river. The map has been kindly donated by Strathclyde police and likely dates from 1950’s, however its actual purpose in the force remains a mystery!


To bring the White Cart Water’s story to life, there is also a walk that visitors can follow along the banks of the river through Paisley. The walk begins at the Watermill Hotel and ends at Paisley Museum, taking in many of the historical places featured in the exhibition, including the Watermill, Abbey, Town Hall and the site of Paisley’s earliest harbour. The route of the walk will be printed on the back of the exhibition leaflet, which visitors can collect from Paisley Museum free of charge.

You can download the PDF Brochure by clicking here 

Renfrewshire Council

Paisley MOD 2013

Mòd Phàislig & Voices in Paisley are offering an exciting opportunity to compose the tune ‘Paisley welcomes the Royal National Mod 2013’which will celebrate the historic visit of the renowned Gaelic festival to the town in 2013. As their contribution to Weaving Musical Threads, the arts extravaganza which takes place across Renfrewshire on 3 & 4 March, the Mòd Phàislig 2013 team have combined with Voices in Paisley to host this competition, with the winner being unveiled on Saturday 3 March when a number of Gaelic choirs will perform in the town as part of the celebrations.

In order to enter the competition email or post a manuscript of your composition to the Mòd Phàislig team. Do not put your name on the manuscript as the judging will be anonymous. It would be useful if entrants could also submit some audio of the tune being played, although this is not essential. In addition to the manuscript, a covering letter is required with full contact details, as well as any information you feel is necessary. E-mail entries to or post to Mòd Phàislig 2013, 12 Ben Nevis Road, Paisley, PA27LA by 8 February. If you have any queries contact Ealasaid MacDonald on 07535514385

In addition to having the honour of their tune being the soundtrack to the Mòd Phàislig celebrations, the winner will receive a cheque for £150. Judging the competition to the final two are three stalwarts of traditional music, Duncan Nicholson, Pipe Major of Strathclyde Police Pipe Band, Brian Laurie of the Brian Laurie Accordion Music School and Andrew Gifford of the renowned band Fiddlers Bid. It will be the audience at the Gaelic Choirs event on 3 March that will make the final decision.

Jim Drennan, Chair of Voices in Paisley said:

‘We are delighted to be working with Mòd Phàislig 2013 as our contribution to Weaving Musical Threads. The tune will provide a lovely soundtrack to the preparations for the Mòd, and will be a lasting legacy. We hope composers from Renfrewshire and afar take the opportunity to be part of two exciting events.’

Ealasaid MacDonald, Convenor of Mòd Phàislig 2013, said

‘This is an excellent opportunity for people to be at the centre of the Mòd Phàislig celebrations. The tune will be central at all events as we prepare for the Mòd and also while it is here in the town. We are grateful to our judges for giving their time to judge and I know they are looking forward to seeing the different interpretations of ‘Paisley welcomes the Royal National Mòd 2013’.

For press queries contact Ealasaid (Liz) MacDonald on 07535514385 or email